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Drama Mamas: Offensive player is offensive

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Uncomfortable player is uncomfortable.
Hi! Your column is fun to read and helpful so Im sending you my story.

I've been playing on and off since BC but Cata was the first time I joined a raiding guild and really socialized. The experience has revitilized the game and I get along well with my 10 man team progressing and goofing around having some laughs. I'm also a gay man and while I'm comfortable with this it never has been my intro card (is it ever?) My orientation has never come up in conversation so I've never brought it up.
Flash forward 7 months and we have a new member in our group. He's outspoken, with a lot of experience ingame, everyone likes him and... every fifth word from him is fag, fag this fairy that. None of this directed at me, just the usual meathead kind of speak, and in turn this encourages the others, degenerating from there. Meanwhile I just sit here listening to this.

At this point I feel like I've painted myself into a corner and just don't really know the best way to handle the situation. I didn't come out at first because it just seems so dramatic to gather everyone in vent to tell them something inconsequential to the whole game or to put up announcement on the groups facebook page but now raid nights are getting uncomfortable and it feels like I'm hiding something I'm not ashamed of.

I'd like to handle this with the least drama possible and I'd hate to be the 'drama queen', but I'm not sure that's possible unless I stay quiet. Part of me wonders if I'm just making a storm in a water glass.

So I guess i was hoping for some suggestion or outside opinion.

-- Jose
Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Hi, Jose. First of all -- deep breath! There's no reason that all of this has to get tangled up in your choice about whether or not to be open about your sexual preferences. That ugliness would tick me off, too. You're virtually guaranteed not to be the only guild member who's put off by his embarrassing lack of class.

The bottom line: All you have to do is let your GM or a guild officer know that this guy's language is fraying your last nerve. Be sure to bring up the fact that you've tried to give this trend time to blow over, but you're uncomfortable that the entire tone of guild chat has changed over time and that you'd greatly appreciate if the guild leaders could quietly usher this particular term out the door. Then give it a week or three to see what happens.

If nothing changes and it's enough of a turn-off that you'd rather leave the guild, there's probably no harm in approaching the guy directly and letting him know that his choice of words really puts a kink in your mojo. He'll probably throw up his defenses and pooh-pooh the idea that the word is offensive, at best, or he may become outright hostile, at worst -- but if you've decided to leave anyway, it's worth a shot in case he does actually take your input to heart. And if things don't go so well, do let the guild leaders know (in a friendly, matter-of-fact way) that you're leaving because of the changed atmosphere in guildchat; the actual departure of a member may jar them into reconsidering the beast they've created.

Whatever happens, know that you are not alone in not wanting to spend time around people who use that kind of nasty, thoughtless language. Come on out of the corner -- there are plenty of other guilds that maintain friendly chat channels without the garbage!

Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Jose, I agree with Lisa that coming out is not at all necessary or recommended here. She's right also that other people are feeling uncomfortable with this sudden spew added to their chat channels.

But I have a question: What is the guild's stance on guild/raid chats? Is there a posted policy? I'm guessing not, since you don't seem to have that to point at when you talk to the leadership. Is profanity in general something you find in guildchat? Do other -isms and phobias tend to make their way into conversations? It seems rather odd that Mr. Foulmouth was the first one to start using offensive language and everyone's OK with it, even though it's such a huge departure from previous chat.

Follow my easy X-step program to getting out of this situation:
  1. Was other offensiveness allowed in guildchat before the arrival of Mr. Foulmouth? If people were making sexist comments and otherwise swearing like sailors, I don't think you have a case here. It's a bit of a double standard to let this bit of verbal nastiness bother you but be OK with use of "rape" and sand in a female body part and whatever else. If this is the case, don't ask the officers to clean up the chat -- just leave the guild gracefully.
  2. Are there posted rules about language in guild and raid chats? If chat was previously inoffensive for all, these rules should be enforced. Ask the guild leader in private to please do so. If he refuses, then politely leave the guild.
  3. If there are no rules, but conversations used to not include anything that others would be uncomfortable with, then follow Lisa's suggestion.
As we've said before, there are many, many tolerant guilds out there that cover all kinds of playstyles. I bet our readers will have suggestions for inoffensive raiding guilds in the comments. And of course, there's always the old standby: Proudmoore. The Stonewall Family and Taint will happily take you in and make you feel comfortable again.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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